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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 4, 2011 12:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Late 73 vs Summer 74

The jamming does take some new turns in '74... It seems the Dead got a little tired of the binary Dark Star / Other One setpieces! Instead they started favoring Truckin' and Let It Grow as two jumping-off points for improv.

Even though some common '73 highlights (Here Comes Sunshine and Bird Song and They Love Each Other) all vanished into oblivion, '74 does offer some new treats - Scarlet Begonias is for me the highlight of the new songs; the Spanish Jam of course returned (after a brief flirtation in March '73); Seastones by itself may not be such a thrill, but by the fall they were able to incorporate it into giant band jams.
As you mention, Let It Grow in '73 was still rather new; but they were confident enough with it by '74 to start taking it out into long unexpected jams; and Eyes also develops more. The China>Riders definitely get even better in '74; and Playing in the Band becomes monstrous. (Interestingly, for the most part they stick Playing back in the first set and don't use it as a set-II springboard as much in '74 as you'd expect after the late-'73 examples - maybe about 6 times.)

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 4, 2011 10:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Late 73 vs Summer 74

As LIA pointed out the band chose some different songs as a vehicle for their improvisational workouts in 74'.For me that made some of the jamming seem tacked on or less organic.The jams in and out of Let it Grow or Truckin' either didn't feel like part of the song or had a fumbling vibe to them where several themes were explored before settling on something comfortable.Where with Playin' or Dark Star the verses and structured parts were of less significance and led to a more anything can happen feel,even the Other One though strictly themed still could be wildly divergent inside it's structure.Overall the direction the band took was less free form jamming and more song oriented group interplay.
Bkidwell touched on the fact there were lots of sections that were solos,not jams,which was a glimpse into the future of Jerry playing a solo and everybody else not doing much.
All in all,74' presented us with Phil at his best,a band that fully realized its jazz roots,a distinct lush sound and some unique and brilliant jamming.